Psychedelic footballer – the secret life of Derek Dougan

Who was that tall, thin Irishman intently watching Syd Barrett and Jimi Hendrix onstage? What happened to his own single? And did rock play a part in Wolves’ 3-1 defeat at Coventry?


From today’s edition of The Guardian:

Derek Dougan, I learned, was a Northern Irish footballer, a centre-forward who joined Wolverhampton Wanderers from Leicester City in March 1967. And who, it seemed, had a taste for psychedelia. The trail is tangled: few people have clear memories of the time, and many – including Dougan himself – are dead.

I believe Dougan’s unlikely introduction to the English acid scene came via a Leicester R&B band called the Roaring Sixties, who in late 1966 transformed themselves into Family, one of the earliest English psychedelic bands. The Roaring Sixties had played at Leicester City supporters’ events, which Dougan had attended while still a player at the club. A former barman from the Leicester City social club told me that once the band became Family they were never invited back – the club’s young goalkeeper, Peter Shilton, apparently deemed them “too far out” – but Dougan was intrigued to find out more about this strange music, and set out on his auto-didactic psychedelic journey.

Sometimes one wonders whether the journey it was worth it. Was Wolves’s 3-1 loss away at Coventry on 29 April 1967 the result of Dougan still dreaming about seeing Hendrix the night before, and his tiredness after travelling back late from London? After all, it’s noticeable that Wolves won the two games either side of that fixture 4-1.

Check Dougan’s goal for 3-0 against Arsenal in a 5-0 victory from 1972 here:

Read the full article here.

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